Monday, January 14, 2019

"Father, your social media is not joyful"

UPDATED: I forgot to add my favorite quote from Chesterton.  It is now included at the end

Every now and then, I hear from people "I follow you on Twitter/Facebook/Youtube/Blog, and you seem pretty intense."

Other words for intense would be "angry", "non-joyful", "non-happy", etc.

Here's my response: social media is a TOOL.  Social media is NOT a thing that should be used to present the entirety of one's self

MANY people WRONGLY use social media to try to present the entirety of themselves to other people (even though, of course, it is usually only the parts of themselves they want others to see).

Some people would respond: "Well, use social media to convey joy and happiness and humor"

My response: "NO!"

1) I find a lot of joy and happiness and peace in my life.  Most of the people who interact with me in person would say I'm joyful, of good humor, easy to get along with, and NOT a person who always talks about hard truths.

I don't typically call up friends and say "Hey, do you want to talk about contraception or McCarrick?"

2) The Gospels are not written to describe Jesus' personal disposition.  The Gospels don't say "One day, in a conversation, Jesus was really happy and smiling and giving off a great vibe of joy"  The Gospels are the Truth out of a fire-hose.  Every word is something that could fuel our prayer lives for years, but virtually nothing in the Gospels describes Jesus' personality/joy/happiness/etc.

The vast majority of my life is stuff that I will not share on social media.  I don't spend a lot of time on social media.  I also run two parishes and a university and prison chaplaincy, and am too busy to be on social media giving constant updates anyway.  But when I have an experience of joy or happiness or peace or a fun interaction, I pray that none of the first 100 things that pass through my mind will ever be "I should somehow go out and tell everyone how funny/joyful/at peace/happy I am by recounting this story on social media"



Those who think social media is for constantly demonstrating all facets of their personality equally and that the entirety of one's personality is to be gathered from social media have a very warped and even spiritually diseased and potentially lethal understanding of what social media is for.

My blog has 2,001,448 views
My Youtube channel has 15,000 subscribers and 10.6 million minutes of watched videos
My Facebook public page has 9,000 followers
My Twitter has 8,000 followers and about 8 million impressions

One might throw out there that Hitler had a huge following.  I share these stats just to say that despite me not conveying every facet of my personality via social media, lots of people find what I do, in a very limited capacity, to be helpful.

People aren't coming there looking for updates on my current state of mind and where I'm at spiritually at that moment.  They are coming for the Truth.  So for those who are looking to know about the effects that the Gospel has on one's personality, go introduce yourself to some people, in person, who are living the Gospel and have them over for dinner. 

I end with my favorite quote from Chesterton; his mic-drop conclusion to his best book "Orthodoxy".  Some people tell me they don't understand what Chesterton is getting at in this quote of his.  I feel sorry for those persons. Here is perhaps his best prose, and that is saying something!

"He never restrained His anger. He flung furniture down the front steps of the Temple, and asked men how they expected to escape the damnation of Hell.  

Yet He restrained something. I say it with reverence; there was in that shattering personality a thread that must be called shyness. 

There was something that He hid from all men when He went up a mountain to pray. There was something that He covered constantly by abrupt silence or impetuous isolation. There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth."

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